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Export Award For Orion Systems

19 April 2002

Export Award For Orion Systems - World Leader In Health It

Orion Systems International, an Auckland software development company with products that are improving healthcare around the world, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for its state-of-the-art-technology and strong increase in export earnings over the past three years.

Orion CEO Ian McCrae says the company has pioneered many technical firsts and is leading the global market with several of its solutions. The company’s products have been used and trusted worldwide for nearly a decade.

Mr McCrae says Orion’s software helps hospitals improve efficiency and patient care by integrating disparate healthcare computer systems to provide a comprehensive electronic record of patient health. The company has four core products, which it now markets as the Health Integration Suite (HIS), a cost-effective and unique IT solution for hospitals.

He says Orion’s products allow hospitals to automate all information and documentation and potentially be completely paperless.

“The combination of Orion’s products enables the creation of an advanced, comprehensive electronic medical record for all patients. The web-based software acts as an umbrella over all systems and unifies them into a single system. This allows for clinicians at different locations to securely share and update patient information 24 hours a day.

“With our software, doctors and clinicians can view all of their patient’s information wherever they need it, whenever they need it. This allows them to make faster, more informed clinical decisions and gives them more time to spend with patients.

“For example, doctors in the emergency department can log onto the computer and instantly access all of their patient’s data – medical history, lab results, digital images of x-rays – before they treat them. While consulting with patients or from their homes, doctors can place online orders for prescriptions, lab, radiology and ancillary services; send referrals and discharge summaries electronically; and monitor patients on disease management and immunization programmes.”

Mr McCrae says Orion’s software has shown “amazing results locally”.

“Counties Manukau District Health Board in Auckland, for example, showed a 30% cost reduction, a 17% reduction in mortality rates, and was able to bring treatment and drugs to patients 80% quicker with our integration software and disease management application. These results have been recognised and are being replicated with our software worldwide.”

Orion’s major export markets include the USA, the UK, Australia and Asia, and the company has been successful in winning a key hospital reference site in each market. Orion sales people, located around the globe, then refer to that reference site when marketing to other hospitals in the region.

“Healthcare is a tight knit community. Doctors and clinicians talk to one another. So having one hospital in each market being an evangelist for Orion gives us credibility and is much more effective that us simply knocking on doors.”

Orion’s current export focus is the USA, responsible for 50% of the world’s healthcare spending. The company achieved a major breakthrough earlier this year, with Central Washington Hospital purchasing its entire suite of products.

“Apart from the obvious attraction of the size of the US market, many other countries look to it for leading IT solutions, so we knew we had to get it right. Our Symphonia product is already the leading messaging toolkit in the US and has been standardised by Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Philips,” says Mr McCrae.

He says the low cost of R&D in New Zealand and the low Kiwi dollar mean Orion’s software is a very cost-effective solution for international clients. As such, the company plans to keep its development base here.

He says another competitive advantage is Orion’s approach to integrating hospital systems.

“We integrate best-of-breed or legacy IT systems at a hospital. Therefore, we retain their existing investment and valuable institutional knowledge, and we enhance it. In complete opposition, most of our competitors, particularly the big US companies, require hospitals to wipe out current systems and replace them with a one-vendor solution. We call it the “big bang” approach, which is truly not a cost-effective or viable solution for many hospitals.”

Orion’s core products were co-developed and tested by the people who use them daily - doctors, nurses and clinicians. This was done to ensure ease of use and functionality. The company has now hired in-house medical staff to be an integral part of further product enhancements and upgrades.

“Our products are built around ease of use – they are easier to install, use and maintain, and I think that’s because we have a very innovative team. We have great University recruitment campaigns and are able to select and employ some of New Zealand’s top innovators.”

Mr McCrae says he encourages his staff to take risks. Technology developers are motivated to explore and innovate in a relaxed and flexible work environment.

Mr McCrae projects a further 80% growth in turnover this year. Staff levels have grown by 100% over the past three years to 120, and that is expected to increase more than double over the next 12 months. Exports now account for 75% of Orion’s turnover.

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Adrian Dixon congratulated Orion on its Export Award win.

“Orion has a strong innovative range of products including wide ranging relationship management systems. It is very focused on maintaining an environment for innovative technology, fostering a learning and challenging work environment.

“Ian McCrae is a leader in the IT industry in New Zealand and is dedicated to making this country a world leader in healthcare IT solutions.”

Ian McCrae is one of the drivers of the IT Health Cluster – an industry group of 25 complementary and competing New Zealand companies that are working together with the help of Trade New Zealand to make New Zealand recognised internationally for the quality of its health IT.

The presentation will be held on Friday 19 April 2002, at Orion’s offices Mt. Eden.


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